Going the Distance


(Hunter Benagas / The Fordham Ram)

I came to Fordham in the fall of 2017 as a freshman who didn’t know the difference between right and left. I knew I wanted to get involved with the Ram; having spent my senior year of high school as the underqualified editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, I figured I’d give it a shot. Soon, I found myself copy editing from 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays. 

I knew I wanted to get involved with the sports section — the truth is, it was the only writing I felt I was capable of — and I did, with an assist from Jack McLoone, the sports editor of Volume 99. With a nudge from Jack, I decided to apply for Volume 100 as an assistant sports editor. I thought there was no chance I’d actually get it; the interview went well, but I was aware of the responsibilities of being on staff, and I didn’t want much part of it. 

And then I got the email. Dec. 1, 2017. Upon finding out I’d be an assistant sports editor for Volume 100, my reaction was not one of celebration; it was one of, “What did I just do?” After embarking on my first 11 issues in this role, I’ll be honest: I thought I’d be ready to quit at the end of 2018. The responsibilities were intense, and as a freshman still adjusting to college life without a ton of close friends to begin with, I wasn’t sure how enamored I’d be with continuing. I promised myself I’d take the summer to think about it and come to a decision sometime in the fall.

Over that summer, I came to an important realization: I couldn’t picture my life without the Ram. 

It wasn’t so much about the process of putting together a newspaper, which is fun. I realized the best part of being on staff with the Ram was being in a place with like-minded people who are trying to figure it out the same way you are. People who are subject to a windowless basement for hours each Tuesday night. And people who would do anything for you the same way you would do anything for them.

Needless to say, I stayed, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. My last two years as sports editor have brought their own difficulties, COVID-19 chief among them. But our section and this newspaper have gotten through this, and I’ll always be proud to be part of both. Yes, I’ll miss the late-night chats and displaying my prowess in “Raft Wars” or “Oregon Trail.” (For the record, the key to surviving dysentery is load management.) But I am most proud of what we have achieved since mid-March, with no sports to cover — although that will be changing just in time for me to hand this job to someone else.

That being said, it is the camaraderie that I have mentioned that I miss so much and that I have a hard time describing. I’ve made so many friends through this newspaper, and I anticipate keeping them for the rest of my life. So, naturally, I have some people to thank.

First of all, thank you to Jack McLoone. I owe most of the professional opportunities I’ve gotten in the past four years to him, and that isn’t hyperbole. He gave me my first opportunity to write for the Ram as a golf beat reporter, and I learned so much under his leadership as sports editor in Volume 100. To the executive boards of Volumes 100, 101 and 102 — thank you for leading us through some good times and bad times over the past few years. Most of all, thank you for trusting me with important responsibilities and helping the sports section at all times.

To the real MVPs, the copy team — thank you for being the backbone of this newspaper. Without Erica, Emma and the copy team, we are nothing. I would be remiss not to thank Vanessa, Maggie, Colette and Lindsay, our copy chiefs over the past couple of years. All of you have made me a better writer and a better person as well. 

Finally, to my sports team. This is the hardest part. Dylan, I have pity for what the scores and stats page will look like a few weeks from now. In all seriousness, though, we’ve known each other for a while, and it’s been gratifying to see you grow into the person you’ve become. Andrew, thanks for your friendship and decisive leadership as managing editor this past volume. Our late-night chats over the background noise of the midnight SportsCenter during Volume 101 are a treasured memory of my time with the Ram. And Alex, you’ve been a terrific addition to our staff this past year, and I can’t wait to see what you do in the next couple of years.

There are many more that I have missed. The Ram is such a special place, and I’m going to miss it terribly. After three years on staff, I honestly thought I’d be able to better convey the deep feelings I have for this newspaper better. Instead, I’ll just say that to understand the greatness of this experience, you had to be there.

I’ve been lucky to be here the past three years, and for as much fun as I’ve had, it’s someone else’s turn to experience what I did. I’m just glad I didn’t prematurely pull the plug.